— Omaya and Mesago help plan the battle and Omaya show’s his friend a book —
Omaya and Mesago walked into the main banqueting hall, filled now with waiting officers. At their head, stood a large map table, and behind it sat Lord Tarian and his brother, Barian. Trays of food and beverages had been placed at one end of the huge, oak table and a chandelier with over a hundred candles swung ever so slightly above it, disturbed by the draft when the two new arrivals had entered.
“Take a cup of tea!” Tarian added, gesturing to a tray.
“Tea?” Omaya and Mesago said together, astonished.
“We’ve just managed to import the first crate,” Barian said. “Zeeland is going up in the world!”
“I tasted it once!” Mesago said, sipping from a white, china cup. “Mm.”
“Mm,” Omaya repeated. “It’s good. I heard of it. I tasted chocolate once.”
“Ah! Chocolate. I haven’t tasted it since I was a kid,” Tarian said. “Where?”
“Currency Palace. The Princess gave it to me.”
“So you did know her well,” Barian declared.
“I was her slave,” Omaya replied.
“Pleasure slave!” Mesago murmured, just loud enough for Tarian to hear.
Tarian nodded, with set lips but a slight smirk around the corners of his eyes.
“And now he’s buying books!” Barian added.
“Are you thinking of taking those with you?” Tarian asked.
“Yes. To read on lonely evenings.”
“Soldiers should never read books!” Barian said.
“They say books quicken the mind but slow the hand,” Tarian added.
“Though women do the opposite!” Barian said.